Molly Bates with a photo of her late husband Colin. Molly said he died in terrible pain and she dreads dying the same way.
Molly Bates with a photo of her late husband Colin. Molly said he died in terrible pain and she dreads dying the same way. Sharyn O'Neill

Patients to make their own choice

WHEN it is her turn to go, Molly Bates dreads the idea of dying in pain like her late husband.

Molly, now age 82, said her husband Colin suffered in terrible pain in the final stages of his battle with prostate cancer, and it took him months to die.

“The last two weeks were terrible,” Molly said.

With the euthanasia debate raised as part of an End of Life Conversation forum held at the Cancer Council of Queensland’s Rockhampton office recently, Molly stepped forward to tell her story.

Reflecting on the life of her husband, whom she described as a quiet country man, Molly said his death three years ago was something she would never quite get over.

With her pet dogs, she didn’t want them to suffer when they got ill and was able to have them euthanised at the vet.

“I wouldn’t let a little animal suffer like that.”

But she had to deal with her husband saying he wished he could die and that he’d had enough, but he had no choice but to suffer.

Molly wants to know why, if abortion can be allowed by law, something she doesn’t believe is right, why not euthanasia for those who are terminally ill?

“The terminally ill deserve to be allowed to die in peace.

“If two or three doctors agree, and the man wants to go, why not?”

In the last few days of his life, Colin was admitted to palliative care, specialised care and support for those with a terminal illness.

With a huge shortage of spaces available in palliative care, not only in Rockhampton but Australia-wide, Associate Professor Vora, a palliative care physician from the Gold Coast, advised that funding to palliative care services across Queensland had rarely increased over the last 10 years, despite an increase in demand of up to 25% per year, with growing numbers of dying Queenslanders finding it difficult to access specialist palliative care services.

A Christian with a strong faith in God, Molly believes modern medicine and technology allows for a humane way to end life for those in pain, and it is what her God would approve of.

“I can’t see a cruel God.

“If I got cancer and I was in Dad’s (Colin’s) state, I’d say ‘send me to the Lord’.”



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